Woodpeckers at Sanderstead
Sunday 30 April, 2017
Report by Match Manager and Birthday boy Motty, POB in Italics
Our first match of the season, after a reverse washout at HAC the previous weekend, saw a pickled pack of porky Peckers venture south of Croydon to the delightful environs of Sanderstead to battle our old foe at the Old Saw Mill Ground.
With Club Captain POB out injured with Grandmother’s Elbow (not medical terminology) yours truly was installed as Match Manager and the realities of finding eleven fit men dawned on me, losing Muttley / Coatesy to gastroenteritis on Thursday. Nevertheless, we had a classic nine including Swampy over the Singapore making on if his all too rare appearances. We were given two Sanderstead men including Aesch and a colts coach called Gary who fielded gamely and didn’t bat.
Perhaps we’d all forgotten the delights of Sunday cricket and could look only as far as the wall of water approaching from the south west. All of these worries quickly evaporated upon arriving at the ground to be greeted by Windy, Canon etc all with fresh pints of ale and big smiles.
Nonetheless, rain was on its way and POB negotiated a 35 over game with Aesch, still more than enough for the first game of the season. Little did we know we could have negotiated far fewer overs for both sides…
My first master stroke as Match Manager was installing an attacking captain in my brother Botty and instructing him to lose the toss, which he duly obliged.
My second masterstroke as Match Manager was agreeing with my brother that I was far too hungover to open the bowling (I turned 36 the day before and waved goodbye to the last of our lunch guests at 5am). Cuddy was tossed the new ball and opened the 2017 season from the Old Saw Mill End. Together with Windy from the School End they proceeded to bowl the tightest opening spells I can remember, each finishing with two wickets having conceded just 25 runs for the first 12 overs.
There were, perhaps inevitably, some dropped catches. A couple of tricky ones including a swirly which nearly killed Gary at deep point, but in an early favourite for Drop Of The Season was a lovely effort from POB who was sub fielding for a tardy Pooley and hiding away in second or third slip. Their opener caught an edge from a Cuddy fizzer – coming straight into the breadbasket this would have been a fine opening dismissal for 2017, had it not gone straight through POB’s flailing hands and caught him right on the tip of his wanger. Play wasn’t resumed for several minutes to give us all a chance to catch our breath.
Meanwhile, things were happening. Windy took two wickets in two overs and Botty smelled the blood in the water, moving into advanced positions in the field Cuddy was now bowling to a 7-2 field perhaps for the first time in his Peckers careers, and was duly rewarded with two his own. Doby restored the family name with 2 catches off his great friend Windy, the first an excellent one running back, hampered by a poorly finger ( a chopping injury apparently)
At 34-4 from the first 12 the openers were sent out to pasture and with the dangerous Syed and rather chubby and loud Lock the Younger changes were made. Motty from the bottom end and Pooley from the top. A mixed bag from both saw several big wides from yours truly with one straight one which saw Jesus (Big Merv / Tommy Walker) take a diving catch to his right to dismiss Syed. Lock the Elder soon fell to another straight one and I was allowed a rest.
Canon replaced me up the hill and bowled really very well too, apart from some more wides. A solitary eleven ball over from TOB saw Botty bring himself on against the tail, probing that he’s been paying attention to how POB keeps his bowling average so healthy. Three cheap wickets with his dibby dobbers saw us tidy them up for 107. The Portly Lock was removed by an excellent catch by Pooley diving forward and taking it inches off the turf. We bowled 17 wides on total which was easily second top scorer.
Sanderstead – 107 all out (28.5 overs) at tea.
Tea at Sanderstead is good, if not great. Quite a one dimensional array of sandwiches is saved by the accoutrements – min scotch eggs, mini sausage rolls and hot pizza were the stars of the show. Good strong tea and some Kiplings were adequate but would certainly have caused Runky to grumble at the lack of finesse.
Tea – 6/10~
In my third and final masterstroke as Match Manager I repaired immediately to the bar and poured a few ales for our beleaguered fielders – 29 overs is a bloody long time in May - leaving Botty to pick some Peckers to bat with.
Swampy was an obvious choice to open and the two of them started very well. Cautiously seeing out a couple of impressively skilled youngsters, both in the Surrey set up and both gobby little sh*tes.
Wilson, bowling with pace from the top end, eventually got one to nip back at Swamp and took his leg stump out, but not before Swamp had taken the sting out of him. If our rather long middle order had been exposed to him all hell would have broken loose and 108 would have seemed a long way away.
Aesh came in at 3, but only lasted two balls against Wilson his protégé. Cuddy then joined Botty in the middle and looked solid, supporting his captain admirably and smacking the shot of the day arching over long on from the bowling of Syed at the top end.
By now Botty was stroking the ball around nicely and was getting involved in some ‘banter’ with some of the youngsters in the middle, who seemed unaware that Botty had played years of league cricket an preferred to be wound up.
He hit a lovely cover drive to bring up his 50, a really terrific knock seeing as he was the lunch guest I had kicked out at 5am.
Merv / Jesus was left to hit the winning runs, managing to do some in a somewhat unorthodox manner knocking a full ball over mid wickets whilst sitting on the ground. The moment caught by happy snapper -the Aesch
Woopeckers – 108 for 3 (22 overs). Woodpeckers win by 7 wickets.
Post-Match Curry, The Panahar
Traditional post-match curry was taken at The Panahar.
“The best curry house in London.” Patrick
“It’s not in London” Canon
Ten of us made the curry, which really was splendid. Highlights were the king prawn bhuna (four servings) and the Motter Paneer (cheesy peas), but winner was the lamb:
LAMB SHANK MIRCHWALA
Marinated lamb shank slowly cooked overnight in tomatoes, onion, green chillies, ginger and a hot sauce. Making the lamb so soft it falls off the bone. (Highly recommended by our chef).
Curry – 9/10.
A terrific start to the season Peckers –Well skippered and batted Botty _and his new Pecker Packer is a triumph. Well bowled Cuddy and Windy and some top catching TOB and Pooley. Well match managed Motty/Ooty